Daily Archives: 3 Feb 2010

What’s Going on at Southeastern Seminary?

When someone resigns abruptly

Preferring “another environment” in which to continue his career, following the sabbatical he began with his announcement, he said he may pursue “a university setting, where there is a community of scholars from widely-varied disciplines in the arts and sciences.”

And that person is Dean of the Faculty, all sorts of red flags go up. Adding to the oddness,

A staff source at the seminary said Nelson’s leaving should “in no way” be considered a firing.

If you’ve been around Baptist institutions long enough you know that sounds like he quit before he could or would be fired. It’s all very strange and takes me right back to the 80’s when, as a student there, loads of faculty were forced out during the Fundamentalist takeover. None were fired, of course, but it was leave or be sacked and they all knew it, and so did we students.

Something’s going on at Southeastern.  Does he feel confined and constrained, desiring a more open learning environment?  Such language implies that he doesn’t have at Southeastern a sense of diversity or community.

49 Kids in a Taxi Meant For 16

And the driver was drunk

A South African minibus taxi driver five times over the legal blood alcohol limit at breakfast time was arrested on Wednesday for transporting 49 children in a 16-seat vehicle. The 26-year-old man was pulled over at a routine check-point in KwaZulu-Natal province, where traffic officials found the children, aged between three and 13, crammed on top of each other for the morning ride to school. “The man is now behind bars,” Colin Govender of the Road Traffic Inspectorate said. The driver is due to appear in court on Thursday.

That he’s in jail surprises me. In the county I live the police probably would have simply told him to get the kids home as soon as possible and let him go…

[n.b.- yes, I filed it under total depravity because such a person has a complete disregard for human life]

Children Were Willingly Given To Those Baptists In Haiti

The Guardian reports

A mother in a remote village outside Haiti’s main earthquake zone has told how she allowed her twin sons to be taken by American missionaries now under investigation for child trafficking, because they promised to provide a life of hope and opportunity for her children. Maggie Moise, who has eight children, said she was contacted by a local man who works in an orphanage in her village and was told that “some white people” wanted to help her family.

Her’s is not the only case of such happening. Parents across Haiti wanting better for their children will sacrifice their parental bond to make it happen.

This contrasts mightily with the obvious distortion of the facts in the Teheran Times whose ridiculous lead paragraph on the story shrieks

Ten U.S. missionaries were arrested while trying to abduct 33 Haitian children. A Haitian judge has questioned a group of ten U.S. missionaries arrested while trying to abduct more than 30 children during the post-quake mayhem.

No such thing was happening, of course, but Tehran delights in painting Americans in a negative light whenever the opportunity arises.

Can Anything Good Come From NatGeo?

It seems that it can, if the forthcoming Dead Sea Scrolls special they have put together is any indication.  Robert Cargill has the info (or as the kids say, the 411) –

who really wrote the dead sea scrolls? that is the subject of a forthcoming documentary produced by ctvc in london for the national geographic channel. i was asked to be among the interviewees.

Then Bob lists a veritable who’s who of highly respected scrolls scholars (with nary a Golb of Jacobovici in sight) who are the ‘talking heads’ involved in the project.

the documentary is designed to take all evidence into account, including the site of qumran, the known sects of the second temple period, the caves in which the dss were found, and the contents, shape, size, date, paleography, orthography, language, and ideology of the scrolls themselves.

So when will it air, Bob? Cryptically, he teases

keep your eyes peeled in april for the national geographic channel’s presentation of the answer to the now 60 year old question: who really wrote the dead sea scrolls?

Oh sure, dangle the carrot… When an actual air time is announced, I’ll try to pass it along. I’ll certainly be watching (unless they air it at 7 on Sunday. Tell them not to do that, Bob).

While It’s Good To Send Aid To Haiti…

It’s also worth noting that your neighbor down the street might be going hungry too.

Food-assistance agencies nationwide serve 1 million more people each week than they did four years ago, according to a national study released Feb. 2. The nation’s network of food banks and related agencies provide emergency food to 37 million people — one American in eight — including 14 million children and about 3 million senior adults, the study revealed. That’s a 46 percent increase over the number reported four years ago.

And this part of the report is true as true can be:

“It is morally reprehensible that we live in the wealthiest nation in the world where one in six people are struggling to make choices between food and other basic necessities,” Escarra said. “These are choices that no one should have to make, but particularly households with children. Insufficient nutrition has adverse effects on the physical, behavioral and mental health, and academic performance of children. It is critical that we ensure that no child goes to bed hungry in America as they truly are our engine of economic growth and future vitality.”

While people go hungry AIG is using part of its billions of bailout money to give executives who obviously are inept huge million dollar bonuses. The dissonance between those two facts could not portray more clearly the sad and sorry state of American society.

Total Depravity: The New Zealand Teen Prostitution Edition

I may have been hasty in presuming that everyone in New Zealand was thinking clearly.  This girl isn’t.

A New Zealand teenager who says she auctioned her virginity online for $32,000 to raise tuition money did not break any laws but it might be risky for her to follow through on the deal, police warned Wednesday. The anonymous 19-year-old student offered her virginity to the highest bidder on the Web site under the name “Unigirl,” saying she would use the money to pay for her tuition. She said in a post that more than 30,000 people had viewed her ad and more than 1,200 had made bids before she accepted an offer of more than New Zealand dollars 45,000 ($32,000).

Selling yourself only means one thing: prostitution. There are countless other ways to fund college. One need not stoop to selling oneself into slavery for an education.

Yes, New Zealand, You Are Populated By The Brightest and Best

And then, you, blessed United States.  And you too, Canada, have loads of wise people.

Richard Hess: Names In Genesis 1-11

A new essay in Bible and Interpretation, which is based on Hess’s 2009 volume on the subject, is up today and may be of interest to the millions of readers here.  He

argue[s] that many of the personal names, especially those associated with the narratives of Genesis 1-3 and 6-9, provide wordplay with the Hebrew of the narratives and thus point to key emphases in those texts that might otherwise be overlooked.

What? A Greedy Scientist Manipulated Results for Money?

Who would have ever imagined that such a thing could happen in a world besmitten by science-olatry.  Science, we are constantly told, is all about objectivity and the search for truth.  But it seems one of its high priests is more than a little depraved.

On Jan. 28, the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council (GMC) found Wakefield guilty of acting unethically during the time he conducted the famous case report of 12 children that questioned if a childhood vaccine caused a new form of autism.

What???? An unethical science-olatrist?

The GMC concluded that Wakefield participated in “dishonesty and misleading conduct” while he conducted the research. Specifically, it found Wakefield responsible for an ethics breach because he wrote that the children involved in the case report were referred to his clinic for stomach problems, when he knew nearly half of the children were actually part of a lawsuit looking into the effects of an MMR vaccine. Some children didn’t have stomach issues at all. Wakefield also failed to disclose he was paid in conjunction with the lawsuit, or that he had a patent related to a new MMR vaccine in development when he submitted the case report for publication.

Wow. Well so much for 1) scientific objectivity, 2) peer review, and 3) honesty. Now every published scientific paper ought to have a big question mark over it since we will never know if the authors of said papers are working from the point of view of an agenda or worse, greed.

It’s Wednesday: Time For Comic Relief

I find these amusing.  If you don’t, don’t get mad at me, get mad at yourself.

That’s Crazy: More Judicial Insanity

It’s tax time.  Get all your receipts together and scratch for every deduction.  And if you can’t come up with all you think you might use, trot out and get a sex change operation- it’s tax deductible according to the Court.

The U.S. Tax Court ruled Tuesday that a Massachusetts woman should be allowed to deduct the costs of her sex-change operation, a decision that could have broad implications for transgender people. Rhiannon O’Donnabhain (oh-DON’-oh-vin), who was born a man, sued the Internal Revenue Service after the agency rejected a $5,000 deduction for approximately $25,000 in medical expenses associated with the sex-change surgery. The IRS said the surgery was cosmetic and not medically necessary.

If you can deduct that, you should be able to deduct everything. Even food. Indeed, if a sex change operation is deemed deduction worthy when it is completely unnecessary, then food should be totally deductible. Get your store receipts!

But here’s the weird part of the story…

O’Donnabhain’s lawyers argued that because gender-identity disorder is a recognized mental disorder that is generally treated with hormones and surgery, the costs are legitimate medical deductions. The tax court agreed.

So there it is- being transgendered is a mental disorder. And all this time I thought gay activists wanted us to believe that they were ‘made that way’. Just ‘women (or men) born with the wrong organs’. I guess the argument only is made if it’s seen to be of use and if not, then transgenderedness is a mental disorder.

Pope Benedict Isn’t Hurting People

Harry Knox, an adviser to President Obama’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is standing by a statement he made last March that Pope Benedict XVI is “hurting people in the name of Jesus.” When asked on Tuesday whether he still holds that view, Knox said, “I do.”

Steady there, miss. It’s one thing to say that you disagree with the Pope on this or that issue; but intellectual disagreement doesn’t give you the right to accuse the Pope of being malevolent. If the Pope, as a theologian, points out a societal ill and calls on Christians to approach the issue from a more biblical point of view, that’s hardly hurting people, it’s being true to his calling as a Shepherd.

What hurts people is teaching them that a lie is the truth.  So, Harry, perhaps it’s you who are hurting people and not the Pope after all.

Books You Should Never Read

These are, apparently, real books, with their real titles…  all nominated, it seems, for the 2009 Odd Title Prize

The Sacrosanct Foreskin of Christ in the Cult and Theology of the Papish Church of Berlin (1907) (though this one was turned down because it’s from 1907).

My favorites which did make the list include these gems:

Bacon: A Love Story (the Mark Stevens Story)

Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich

Fluffy Little Kitten in Fluffy’s Brother (by Stephanie Fisher?)

I Stopped Sucking My Thumb…Why Can’t You Stop Drinking?

Peek-a-poo: What’s in Your Diaper? (the Mark Stevens Story)

Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Bean Conference

The Wild World of Girly Men and Masculine Women – And Why Americans Suffer from So Many Other Idiotic Syndromes!

What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua?

Yes– those are real… Don’t read them. Except maybe the second to the last one… it looks interesting.

Wrong

I love the way that Google News automatically generates some stock photo to match whatever subject is discussed in the news stories it has harvested.

Sometimes they’re funny, like today, when – while collecting stories about states which are allowing the Bible to be taught in public schools, it’s stock ph0to is of NT Wright.

Talk about your basic cognitive dissonance!  Wright has never had anything to do with the Bible being taught in public schools- but mention the Bible and Google drags him up.  That’s pretty much akin to having a stock photo of John Edwards crop up if the collection of stories were about honest politicians.

Another Quote of the Day

People who have been touched by faith cannot remain isolated believers.  They are impelled to enter the community – the Spirit of God impels them, and the divine command bids them do so.  — Emil Brunner

Quote of the Day

Whoever does not attend public worship falls into pestiferous error.  — John Calvin